Time Warner Keeps Hobbit Cable Debut in the Family

The Hobbit Smaug

Time Warner’s (NYSE:TWX) TNT cable network has landed the rights to the next film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy after already gaining exclusive access to cable broadcasts of the director’s Lord of the Rings films several years ago. Those films are distributed by Time Warner subsidiary Warner Bros. Entertainment, and the cable debut of the Hobbit films will keep the Tolkien adaptations in the Time Warner family.

The first film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in theaters in December of 2012 and will premier on TNT in 2015. The latest Hobbit installment, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, debuted in theaters on December 13 of this year and will hit TNT in 2016, according to a report from Variety.

The Desolation of Smaug was number one in the box office over the weekend, pulling in $31.5 million in its second weekend in theaters. The latest Hobbit film managed to stay ahead of the Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which was produced by Viacom’s (NYSE:VIA) Paramount and made $26.8 million at the box office in its opening weekend, according to CNN.

In its opening weekend starting on December 13, The Desolation of Smaug also came in at number one, making $73.7 million and beating out Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Frozen. According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Desolation of Smaug had the fourth-largest December opening ever, coming in behind last year’s An Unexpected Journey. That first installment in the Hobbit trilogy made $84.6 million in its opening weekend.

Time Warner’s Warner Bros. has spent an estimated $561 million on the Hobbit trilogy so far, making it one of the most expensive franchises to date and nearly doubling the amount spent on the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The first Hobbit movie brought in more than $1 billion. Worldwide, The Desolation of Smaug has made $426 million at the box office as of Wednesday, according to figures from Box Office Mojo, and it remains to be seen if The Desolation of Smaug can meet or beat the higher bar set by the first Hobbit film. The last film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will come out in 2014.

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